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Re: disappointed engineer

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Dear Tomas,
What Bill Polhemus says about beginning may be part of your problem and, of course, all jobs have their ups and downs.  Maybe you could work something better out where you are now working, but if you continue to be dissatisfied after trying all you can, don't spend too many years being dissatified. My advice then is to try to move into another field, particularly if you find something related to what you do now but that interests you more.  This might take some time and extra work, but it is well worth it.  I worked at structural engineering for 5 years, enjoying it at first, but gradually getting more and more frustrated and unhappy.  I took a master's degree in earthquake engineering but what I did was about 5% earthquake stuff and the rest just rebars and concrete.  A few months ago, however, I found a job doing risk analysis and risk management, among other things, where I can use part of what I learned, although I do have to do a lot of extra studying, but the important thing is this: I love my job.  Many of my colleagues have been going to work for banks and financial companies where they get more money, but I'm not sure they have what I have: I look forward to going to work every morning.  And that's worth more than any amount of money to me. 
So hang in there for a while, but start looking around and don't stop until you find something you enjoy.  That's what getting an education is all about, isn't it?  Good luck!!
Gudrun Olafsdottir
Formerly frustrated engineer in Reykjavik, Iceland
----- Original Message -----
To: seaint
Sent: Friday, March 02, 2001 4:19 AM
Subject: disappointed engineer

I graduated from college here in Chile about six months ago, and I've been working ever since in a small office designing mostly reinforced concrete buildings, and to tell you the truth, I find the job to be very disappointing.  The pay is definitely not as good as in other areas (like industrial engineering), and the job really gets to be boring sometimes.  I mean, what difference will it make if you try to do a good job and try design economically for the client?  Will he notice? I think certainly not.  The thing is, at least here in Chile structural engineering really carries some status in college because it's considered to be one of the more difficult areas of engineering, and the smartest kids here in Chile prefer to study engineering rather that medicine or law, like in the States.  Now I don't regret having studied structural engineering, I liked studying it, but working, now that's a different story.  I don't want to spend the rest of my life taking orders from the big man in the project (architect), so I've already started to look for a job in another area.  Does this happen to engineers in other countries?
just my 2 pesos worth,
Tomas Matta
Ingeniero Civil, PUC
Santiago, Chile